|Bob Widlar, the Genesis|
*Monolithic operational amplifiers have become a vital component in the evolution of high performance DACs. The world’s first op amp chips (µA702, µA709) appeared in the mid-1960s, as devised by linear design genius Bob Widlar, a brilliant eccentric who was then at Fairchild Semiconductor. Intensive development and improvement followed throughout the 1970s and into the mid-’80s. Later emphasis was devoted to advances in symmetrical integration, shrinking topology, increases in wafer size, and yield enhancement. All of the high performance DACs made today utilize this late phase linear technology. The level of excellence that’s been achieved in the past 15 years exceeds anything previously envisioned, and current OEM selling prices make these op amp chips practical for use in almost any consumer market electronic product.